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[personal profile] daemonelix
My erstwhile thesis advisor, Stephen, is a like a steamroller. He tends to talk right over you in meetings, such that it is extremely difficult to say no, because it is difficult to get a word in. If you're a piece of concrete (i.e., an ES/geo/bio student who wants to study biogeochemistry), Stephen is great: he will fit you into his lab, teach you what you need to know, and set you on the road (pun intended!)* to being a great biogeochemist. If you're a plant (i.e., me, though I don't mean any type of value judgment by calling ES students concrete and me a plant, I just couldn't think of a better metaphor), Stephen can be a little ... crushing.

In other words, during my meeting with Stephen today, I almost left without telling him that I no longer want to do a thesis in ES.

Luckily, though, I managed to slip in a bit of a "well, I'm a little sick of doing lab work, after spending ALL LAST SEMESTER DOING IT!" And a "well, I'm pretty sure that I don't want to spend my life doing the kind of lab work that I did all last semester, though it was a lot of fun and very interesting." And a "well, I am actually both an ES and a linguistics concentrator, and there are so many courses and topics that are interesting that it's very difficult to pick, so I don't think I have the time to take the ES thesis course."

I managed (or at least, I think I managed) to make it sound like his idea—this is an important thing when dealing with Stephen, because he likes good ideas to come from him. He also likes good ideas to come from his students, but this way, he doesn't think that I am quitting; he thinks he made a good suggestion, i.e., that I am maybe not quite as devoted as I need to be in order to finish a thesis, and that this is perfectly fine, given that I have lots of other interests, and that I should explore all the other opportunities my school has to offer, etc. etc. etc. At the very least, he doesn't think I'm crazy for not wanting to commit myself to a thesis in ES just yet, especially when I am sure I don't want to ultimately do that kind of science. He does respect the fact that I am torn between two completely and utterly different fields (Have you ever heard of environmental linguistics? I haven't, though I suppose linguistic geography might be the closest.), so he doesn't even seem to think it's a bad thing if I don't finish my ES thesis, which is good.

Oh well. I feel rather pathetic for quitting, but luckily I have several other opportunities, such as doing a linguistics thesis, which I think is infinitely better suited to my particular strengths. At the very least, I really like listening to people talk, whereas I only sort of like digging in the dirt, and I don't really like to measure ammonium. Unfortunately, though, although I do know someone that I would like to work with on a linguistics thesis, I am not positive that I will get to, so it might be difficult to make that work.

I really want to do a thesis. I like analyzing data, finding patterns, and trying to figure out whether a certain theory applies. And I am actually getting interested in language processing, particularly phonological processing; and doing a thesis in linguistic anthropology would basically be SO AWESOME that I wouldn't want to do anything else. (Watch me eat those words ... ^^) Sadly, however, no one here does either of those fields, though some people come close.

Well, at least I won't be crushed by the Great Ammonium Analyzer this semester.


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